w: ajleon

The Anatomy of Average

“Men at some time are masters of their fates: The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves” –  Cassius to Brutus

The business of average is thriving.  It always has and it always will.  There is enough Vanilla out there, enough homogeneous products and services and businesses and charities and life plans to fill up the seven seas three times over.  I can speak to this with some authority because in a former life I was a spokesman for the business of average.  Until that one glorious day I realized that average is not inherited.

Average is a choice.

And this choice governs and directs every problem that we solve. Every item that we produce. Every interaction that we have. And every decision that we make.  But it’s not like the decision to put your socks on every morning.  This decision is so subtle that most days we wake up and don’t even realize we are making it.  But we do.  It’s the decision to be average, to be like everybody else.  Or to deliver exceptional. To be counted. To be remarkable.


The Anatomy of Average.

Average seeks validation from “experts”.

Average awaits sufficient case study to prove that it’s worth it, and is therefore late to everything.

Average avoids any and all risk, thereby avoiding both adventure and failure (two of the best teaching tools the world has given us).

Average praises incremental change because it is afraid of revolution.

Average has no courage.

Average marketing seeks attention like a high schooler with low self-esteem.

Average decision-making uses “playing devil’s advocate” as a way of masking fear and avoiding responsibility.

Average businesses seeks to be pretty good at everything instead of being the best in the world at a few (or one).

Average service focuses on mitigating complaints as opposed to delivering extraordinary.

Average teachers ensure their students never outgrow them.

Average charities grab for your wallet instead of your heart.

Average restaurants are forgotten before we leave the table.

Average people are governed by fear, but convince themselves its prudence.

Average finds comfort in standing for absolutely nothing in order to evade any possible attack.

Average is scared to death of remarkable misfits, like you and I.

Average never leads.

And most importantly, average is just average and nobody will ever remember it.

Most coffee shops don’t bother with latte art.

Most fundraisers don’t bother with innovative storytelling.

Most web applications don’t bother with an elegant user interface.

Most product companies don’t bother with beautiful packaging.

Most web designers don’t bother with footer graphics.

Most eBooks don’t worry about margin illustrations.

Most people mailing a letter don’t bother with handwritten.

Why? Probably because it doesn’t make anyone more money (at least in the short term).


You want to know the secret of winning?

Calculate the expectations of those you are serving, and exceed them. Every single time.

Average is not inherited or thrust upon us.  It’s a decision, a choice we make.  The bad news is that we can’t change the past. But the very good news is that tomorrow morning we get another shot to choose which side we land on.


From Louisville

Your Fellow Misfit,


542 words



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